By Robin Stride
An upsurge of interest in buying private medical insurance is underway as employers explore healthcare options for their workforces.
Figures provided to Independent Practitioner Today from the Association of Medical Insurers and Intermediaries (AMII) indicate a business bounce-back could be on the way for the independent sector a year on from the first lockdown.
Stuart Scullion of AMII
AMII executive chairman Mr Stuart Scullion revealed: ‘Feedback from our intermediary firms is that over the last two quarters, including this one, new business interest in taking out a private medical insurance contract is up between 30-40%.’
He said he did not know how much business the inquiries had resulted in. But he viewed the outlook for consultants in private practice as ‘buoyant’.
Mr Scullion said one member firm of intermediaries had reported that its annual survey of employer benefits, involving 2,000 people, found 51.1% of workers now wanted employers to introduce benefits to manage their health and well-being.
Just over one third of staff (35%) wanted their employer to provide private medical insurance. This was a 13% increase on its survey for 2019. Private medical insurance was voted by workers to be the ‘most desired benefit’.
The survey also found 17% of workers wanted their employer to offer them a health cash plan if it could not afford private medical insurance.
Mr Scullion added: ‘If I was talking to consultants, I would say there is an increasing interest in taking out private medical insurance and health cash plans.
‘It is actually broader than that – people are taking greater responsibility for their health and well-being. I think that increasing interest is all brought about by our experiences over the last 12 months and really the fact we know waiting lists in the NHS are, in the short term, only going to go in one direction.
‘I think consultants are going to see a bounce-back. The one bit of information I have from insurers is that a couple of them have reported they are seeing claims authorisation levels at 85% of the pre-lockdown figure and they expect that to increase and continue.’